Behind the scenes at Modern Art Oxford
Posted By Tom on March 21, 2012
Meller Merceux’s program of study and learning saw its staff pay a visit to Modern Art Oxford, where they had the pleasure of meeting Michael Stanley, the museum’s director since 2009. Stanley shared his insights on the latest exhibition, Graham Sutherland: An Unfinished World, which, curated by 2011 Turner Prize nominee George Shaw, brings together rarely seen works on paper in an exploration of the artist’s changing relationship to the Pembrokeshire landscape.
This highly popular show is part of a resurgence of interest in late modernist art, also evidenced by the ongoing John Piper exhibition at Blenheim Palace, and indeed visitors’ eager reception of original works by artists such as Henry Moore in Meller Merceux’s own gallery spaces. Stanley discussed how dramatically the public’s desire for contemporary art has increased – and continues to do so – in the wake of the opening of new institutions such as Tate Modern and the Baltic Centre. Modern Art Oxford too is playing its part in this revolution in contemporary art, having adapted its spaces and audience management strategy to meet the needs of visitor numbers which have increased exponentially over the last decade.
We also met Modern Art Oxford’s Archive Project Manager Sarah Wilkinson, who gave us an exclusive sneak peak at a project which the gallery is developing in time for its 50th anniversary in 2015. Not currently accessible to the public, the uncatalogued archive contains records of correspondence between its gallery directors, which have included David Elliott and Sir Nicholas Serota, and the stellar artists who have exhibited there over the years. It also holds a collection of striking original posters from exhibitions by prominent artists such as Howard Hodgkin, Joseph Beuys and Carl Andre.
In collaboration with the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, Modern Art Oxford have established a fully funded DPhil studentship on 50 Years of Exhibition-Making, enabling original research to take place on the history of the organisation since its founding in 1965 by architect Trevor Green. Modern Art Oxford is famed for its cutting-edge exhibitions and it is exciting to look forward to a 2012 programme that includes Shezad
Dawood and Jenny Saville.